Sun Devils Rebound In Grand Fashion; End Six-Game Drought
Aug. 31, 2002
by Travis Breedlove, ASU Sports Information
Coming off their 38-point loss a week earlier to Nebraska the Sun Devils (1-1) wanted to enact some revenge. Unfortunately, for Eastern Washington (0-1) they were the opponents having to face the Devils. The Sun Devils jumped out to a commanding 28-0 lead before the Eagles could get on the board with a safety. That was the closest it would be as ASU went on to win the game 38-2.
'With games like that, we're suppose to come out an mash them and that's what we did,' Head Coach Dirk Koetter said. ASU scored on its first four possessions and never looked back.
To start the game ASU received the kickoff at their own five yard line and returned it 41 yards only to fumble it away and have it recovered by the Eagles Emery Meeks. The Sun Devil defense did not falter though as Terrell Suggs sacked Eagles quarterback Josh Blakenship for a 15 yard loss on a fourth and five giving them the ball back.
The Sun Devil offense and their three headed running attack would prove too powerful for the Eastern Washington Eagles as they racked up 206 yards rushing with two touchdowns. 'I'm very pleased with the way we ran the football,' said Koetter. 'We probably could have run it even more, but we wanted to get Chad more throws.' The rushing attack would take over on the Devils first possession as Mike Williams carried the ball on five straight plays to the Eagles 16 setting up a Christensen to Hill 12 yard touchdown pass.
The Sun Devils would begin a drive to score again after Eastern Washington quarterback Josh Blankenship threw an interception to ASU cornerback R.J. Oliver on their next possession. After a holding penalty, Hakim Hill would add another touchdown from 30 yards out. With a Mike Barth extra point and the Sun Devil's lead was extended to14-0.
The Eagles would turn the ball over on downs in their next possession and the Sun Devil offense would drive 80 yards in eight plays to add to their lead. A Christensen to Pinkard touchdown for 26 yards along with a Mike Barth extra point would put the Sun Devils up 21-0. 'We knew we'd have to get Pink going,' Koetter said. Mike Pinkard did get going making four receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown for the night.
After again giving the ball back to ASU on downs the Eagles saw the second running back of ASU's rushing attack score. 'We wanted to even out the carries (among the three running backs). Hopefully, we'd get into some kind of rhythm so they could show what they could do,' commented Coach Koetter. Cornell Canidate got his first carry of the game taking it for seven yards. Eight plays later Canidate would score from eight yards out leading ASU on its 10 play 57 yard drive. A Barth extra point would widen the Sun Devils lead to 28-0 with about nine minutes left in the half.
The teams would exchange punts and ASU would end up with the ball at their own six-yard line. Adding to the poor field position was a costly false start penalty that would help Eastern Washington get on the board. With quarterback Chad Christensen on his own three yard line the Eagles defense would get a sack in the end zone for a safety by defensive lineman Brandon Moore making the score 28-2 in favor of the Devils.
The Devils however, would not rest. After forcing the Eagles to punt the ball away the Sun Devil offensive would attempt a Mike Barth field goal of 57 yards that was just wide left to keep the score 28-2 heading into halftime.
In the third quarter Eastern Washington would drive down the field 65 yards only to see a Rich Heintz 40 yard field goal miss wide left. That was the closest either of the two teams would get to scoring as each traded punts back and forth to keep the score at 28-2 heading into the final quarter of play.
In the final drive of the third quarter the Sun Devil offensive ended on the Eagles 26. Mike Barth would make a 43 yard field goal to begin the fourth quarter from that spot to make the score 31-2.
Andrew Walter would come in for ASU's next series to drive the offense another 65 yards down field hooking up with Skyler Fulton on a four yard touchdown scoring drive. Barth would add the extra point completing the Sun Devils scoring at 38-2.
The Sun Devils defense gave up a net -13 rushing yards and shut out the Eagles offense. In a strong effort the defense made five sacks, one interception and seven tackles for loss.
Chad Christensen finished the game going 12 of 20 for 135 yards and two touchdowns. However, the most important thing was getting another game of experience for the redshirt freshman. 'Each rep I get is definitely going to help as we go along,' Christensen commented.
'Chad go better this week. We added some new tings, and now we'll add some more new things this week,' said Coach Koetter on evaluating his quarterback. 'He still has some things to learn. We'll just have to wait and see.'
GAME NOTES: ASU improved to 42-15-1 overall in home openers and have now won four straight and seven of its last eight...Head Coach Dirk Koetter is now 2-0 in home openers at ASU...The Sun Devil defense did not give up a point for the first time since the 1996 shutout of Nebraska 19-0...the -13 net yards by Eastern Washington is the lowest since the 1992 season when ASU held Louisville to -78...Terrell Suggs moved up the ASU career sacks list to fourth place, passing Bob Kohrs' 22 sacks from 1978-79, with his two sacks bringing his career total to 23...Freshman Matt Fawley, making his first career start, tied Mason Unck with nine tackles in the game...Mike Pinkard has a career night with four receptions for 59 yards and one touchdown.